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An essay concerning humane understanding. In four books … London: printed by Eliz. Holt, for Thomas Basset … MDCXC
In AnEssay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke explores the concepts of how we think and perceive the world around us. After 20 years of tweaking and perfecting, the final product consists of four different books. In Book I, Locke writes about how no human is born with any innate knowledge. Locke points out that if there were any innate principles, everyone would confirm them, and there are no principles that everyone agrees on. This is an attempt to disprove the Cartesian idea of knowledge. Locke goes on to use various examples to emphasize the point that we are born with a "clean slate", onto which ideas,concepts, and knowledge must be inscribed. He goes on to argue that there is no innate knowledge of god because there is no universal consent on this "moral knowledge". Locke believes that all knowledge is gained through experience, questioning and reasoning.
John Locke in his Essay concerning Human Understandingrestates the importance of the experience of the senses overspeculation and sets out the case that the human mind at birth isa complete, but receptive, blank upon which experience imprintsknowledge. Locke definitely did not believe in powers ofintuition or that the human mind is invested with innateconceptions.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
"Essay Concerning Human Understanding" was a live, bi-directional, interactive, telematic, interspecies sonic installation I created with Ikuo Nakamura between Lexington (Kentucky), and New York. In this work, a canary dialogues over a regular phone line with a plant (Philodendron) 600 miles away. The piece was exhibited in the context of my show Dialogues, realized in 1994 simultaneously on the Internet and in museums and galleries. "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" was presented publicly from October 21 to November 11, 1994, simultaneously at the Center for Contemporary Art, University of Kentucky, Lexington, and the Science Hall, in New York.
’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding is one of the most important works of philosophy published in the modern period. It was a founding document for British and its influence throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is difficult to overstate. Its , written in 1671 nearly twenty years before its publication, are required reading for an understanding of Locke’s objectives and philosophical direction in the published book and are vital for a proper grasp of his philosophy both in general but often also in detail."Essay Concerning Human Understanding", YLEM, Vol. 15, No.4, August, p. 4; also published on the Internet in Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 3, No. 8, August 1995, MIT Press.John Locke (b. 1632, d. 1704) was a British philosopher, Oxfordacademic and medical researcher. Locke's monumental An EssayConcerning Human Understanding (1689) is one of the first greatdefenses of empiricism and concerns itself with determining the limitsof human understanding in respect to a wide spectrum of topics. Itthus tells us in some detail what one can legitimately claim to knowand what one cannot. Locke's association with Anthony Ashley Cooper(later the First Earl of Shaftesbury) led him to become successively agovernment official charged with collecting information about tradeand colonies, economic writer, opposition political activist, andfinally a revolutionary whose cause ultimately triumphed in theGlorious Revolution of 1688. Among Locke's political works he is mostfamous for The Second Treatise of Government in which heargues that sovereignty resides in the people and explains the natureof legitimate government in terms of natural rights and the socialcontract. He is also famous for calling for the separation of Churchand State in his Letter Concerning Toleration. Much ofLocke's work is characterized by opposition to authoritarianism. Thisis apparent both on the level of the individual person and on thelevel of institutions such as government and church. For theindividual, Locke wants each of us to use reason to search after truthrather than simply accept the opinion of authorities or be subject tosuperstition. He wants us to proportion assent to propositions to theevidence for them. On the level of institutions it becomes importantto distinguish the legitimate from the illegitimate functions ofinstitutions and to make the corresponding distinction for the uses offorce by these institutions. Locke believes that using reason to tryto grasp the truth, and determine the legitimate functions ofinstitutions will optimize human flourishing for the individual andsociety both in respect to its material and spiritual welfare. This inturn, amounts to following natural law and the fulfillment of thedivine purpose for humanity.